While winter happens to be the best time to spend with family members, it tags along a diversity of safety risks. From road accidents to hypothermia, you need to be quite careful with how you spend your time during the winter. In fact, 24% of weather-related road accidents tend to result from vehicle crashes that happen on icy, slushy or snowy pavements.
As lakes and rivers freeze over, it is quite common for people to start driving on them, but this doesn’t mean that it is always safe to drive on these surfaces. Other than the risk of skidding on the ice, you can easily sink into the ice were you to drive in an area with a thin layer of ice. The trick is learning how to navigate these frozen waters best.
Here are some hacks to help you drive safely on such terrain:
Be Ready For Any Unforeseen Crisis
Similar to how your drive with the tools to help replace your tire while on a normal road, you should be ready for any crisis when driving on a frozen lake. Were you to sink while driving on the ice, the electric window and car locks of your vehicle might fail to work properly. On the other hand, the best option when in a sinking car would be to jump out of the vehicle before it goes into the ice, according to the Driving Guide website.
As a result, carry something that can easily help you to break the windows of your vehicle such as a visor. Additionally, keep the contacts of a rescue team within reach to help salvage your vehicle in case it only sinks partially.
Beware Of Thin Ice
Ice doesn’t freeze uniformly, and neither are all lakes the same. While one part of the ice will be quite thick, another might be too thin to hold the load of your vehicle. The trick lies in telling the thin ice apart from the thick ice. Although you cannot always judge ice by its color, it is a good start.
Blue ice tends to be a tad thick. On the other hand, white ice tends to be thin and mostly porous. Apart from color, it is wise to look for cracks or deformities within the ice as you drive. In case you think that the ice is thin, get out of the car and tap around it. In case the place produces a dull sound, then you should stay away from that part of the ice.
Don’t Get Too Comfortable
It is typically easier to drive on the ice than to walk on it, which makes sense why you might feel too comfortable. Be sure to avoid over-speeding on the road, and take your time to identify if there are any weak points on the ice. Slowing down will make it easier to identify any issue with the ice in good time.
When parking your car, drill a hole in the ice. In case of the ice pools over, this means that the ice is sinking and you should move your car. It is also wise to park your car away from the other vehicles, that is if you will be parking it on the frozen lake.
Keep Maintaining Your Car
Having your car breakdown while on the frozen lake is the last situation you want to be in. The worst case would be if the ice were to start sinking at the place where you park your vehicle. Ensure that you prepare your car in advance for driving in the cold winter. From checking the oil to the tire pressure, be sure to maintain everything in tip-top condition.
The thickness of the ice in frozen lakes will always shift from time to time. While yesterday you might have found a good spot to drive on, it might not be the same tomorrow. Consider using the above tips when driving on the ice to stay safe.